By Harry Awurumibe, Editor, Abuja Bureau
Nigeria’s Super Falcons have qualified for the second round of the Women’s African Cup of Nations (WAFCON) Morocco 2024 qualifiers without kicking a ball as their opponents from Saò Tome and Principe have officially withdrawn from the race few days to the first leg of the first round of the match between the two countries earlier scheduled for the Mobolaji Johnson Arena, Lagos on Friday, 22 September with the return leg scheduled for Tuesday, 26 September in Sao Tome and Principe.
Prompt News can authoritatively report that the tiny Central African Portuguese- speaking island country has officially confirmed to Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) of her withdrawal from the African qualifiers for an unconfirmed reasons beyond her control.
According to a source at Saò Tome and Principe Embassy in Abuja, the São Toméan Football Federation has indicated that the country has pulled out of the WAFCON qualifiers against Nigeria hence there will be no need to grant entry visas to the Nigerian contingent.
It was also gathered that São Toméan Football Federation leadership never contacted the NFF prompting the federation to contact the Confederation of African Football (CAF) last Friday on its inability to get the visitors to confirm their itinerary ahead of the first leg in Nigeria only to be told Saò Tome and Principe have pulled out.
With the withdrawal of Sao Tome, the nine-time African champions will take on the winner of first-round match between Liberia and Cape Verde in the second round stage which is scheduled to take place from November 27 to December 5, 2023.
The winner over two legs of the second round will qualify for the biggest women’s football fiesta on the continent in Morocco which also hosted the last WAFCON in 2022.
Meanwhile, it has been gathered that following the withdrawal of Saò Tome and Principe from the qualifiers, and the NFF has written to clubs to notify them that the match billed for Lagos this weekend has been cancelled and there will be no need to release the players invited for the tie. READ ALSO:
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Recall the federation had last Friday released the list of players expected to prosecute the botched match. Among the 24 players invited to the Super Falcons’ camp for the weekend’s match against Saò Tome and Principe are goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, midfielder Rasheedat Ajibade, and striker Asisat Oshoala.
Onome Ebi, the team’s captain, as well as the regulars Michelle Alozie, Rofiat Imuran, Ifeoma Onumonu, Vivian Ikechukwu, and Gift Monday are all listed on the roster.